Conference Highlights

Opening Ceremonies

Cando would like to thank the following honourary guests and keynote speakers that were a part of this year’s conference:

  • Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia
  • Chief John Wesley, Snuneymuxw First Nation
  • Chief James (Bert) Thomas, Naut’saMawt Tribal Council
  • Eric Magnuson, Regional Director General, Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development Canada, British Columbia Region
  • Acting Mayor Diane Brennan, City of Nanaimo
  • Norma Spence, Cando President

Appreciation also goes out to Elder Eleanor White from SnuneymuxwFirst Nation who provided opening and closing prayers for the conference events; as well as this year’s Master of Ceremonies, Stan Wesley – for his enthusiasm and great professionalism.

Elder White  Stan Wesley  Norma Spence


Chief Wesley   Eric Magnuson   Chief Thomas

Top: Elder Eleanor White, Stan Wesley, Norma Spence Bottom: Chief John Wesley, Eric Magnuson, Chief James (Bert) Thomas Credit: Sean Fenzl Photography

Icebreaker Reception

As is customary of every Cando conference, the opening Icebreaker Reception was held as an opportunity for delegates to socialize and network amid displays of breathtaking artwork. This year, Cando was fortunate to once again partner with Peace Hills Trust to host the 32ndAnnual Native Art Contest Awards Ceremony, in conjunction with the Icebreaker reception at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. The reception provided delegates and special guests with the opportunity to enjoy an evening of entertainment and delicious food.

Icebreaker   Icebreaker-1

Women In Business Panel

The 2014 Cando Annual Conference & AGM was proud to present the inaugural Women in Business Panel. The Women in Business Panel is an opportunity for Aboriginal women entrepreneurs and leaders from across Canada to share their success stories and perspectives on business development. This year’s Women in Business Panel consisted of:

• Paula Corcoran, Sugar & Spice Events and Décor
• Dr. Marie Delorme, The Imagination Group of Companies
• Monica Diochon, St. Francis Xavier University
• Patricia Turner, E.T. Development
• Beverley O’Neil, O’Neil Marketing & Consulting and Numa Communications Ltd.

The six panelists have pursued diverse ventures, from starting an Aboriginal promotional product franchise to owning a community-based event planning company. In pursuit of their respective goals, all panelists have become leaders in their communities and an inspiration to all Aboriginal women with business aspirations. This engaging and inspiring panel highlighted the panelists as they share stories about their early lives and paths to success, including how they mitigated challenges, failures, and critics along the way.

Women in Business

L-R: Patricia Turner, Dr. Marie Delorme, Monica Diochon, Paula Corcoran & Beverley O'Neil. Credit: Sean Fenzl Photography

Community Tour & Cultural Event

Conference delegates embarked on a bus tour throughout the host First Nation’s communities. Tour guides told local stories and pointed out landmarks as the buses drove through the communities of Snuneymuxw First Nation, Stz’uminus First Nation, Halalt First Nation and Cowichan Tribes. The tour’s eventual destination was the Quw’utsun’ Cultural & Conference Centre, located along the banks of the Cowichan River in the City of Duncan. Owned by the Cowichan Band, the grounds of the cultural centre feature intricate totem poles and paintings, as well as stunning views of the natural landscape along the river. After taking in the scenery and browsing the artisans’ booth, conference delegates gathered inside the centre (designed to resemble a traditional Cowichan longhouse) for the evening’s program. A delicious salmon meal was served, during which delegates enjoyed the evening’s entertainment. The Kulus Dancers performed outstanding traditional drumming and dance sequences, making for a lively display of local talent and culture to end off the evening.

Our heartfelt thanks go out to Steven Sxwithul’txw and Terry Sampson for helping to organize and host this wonderful community event.

Community Event  Kulus Dancers  Kulus Dancers-1  Dance Group